Why can’t we be friends?

What is it about OCI that makes me question my chosen profession?  Is it that my normally pleasant classmates turn into back-biting sycophants?  Is it that some legal "professionals" choose to treat us as if we were nothing more than displayed pieces of meat?  Two painful OCI stories that made me cringe when I heard them:

A good friend of mine went to early OCI last week and had a harrowing tale to share with me about her experience with Big Firm.  Friend had some contact with Big Firm during her 1L year and approached a young associate at the OCI venue.  They chatted for a few minutes and Friend mentioned that she didn't have an interview scheduled with them, but she hoped they may make time to speak with her.  The young associate said she'd check, and took Friend's resume to the partners standing about 5 feet away.  They huddled around her resume briefly, and then the partners dispersed, leaving young associate alone with Friend.  Without a word to Friend, young associate walked around the table that separated them, moved past Friend and out the door.  Friend, understandably confused, was forced to follow young associate  through the door to catch up with her.  When Friend did catch up with her, she asked if Big Firm would be able to see her that day.  Young associate said condescendingly, "Uh, no.  We won't be meeting with you."  Ouch!!!

Early OCI was held offsite at a hotel this year.  Another very good friend (VGF) was in the middle of an interview with a different firm when a housekeeper entered the room and began cleaning and emptying trash.  The partner turned to the associate and asked if she could "do something about this."  VGF said that there was no need, she wasn't distracted and there would be no problem continuing the interview.  When they were finished, VGF exited into the hall where two fellow students were waiting for their interview and snickering at her.  Nonplussed, she walked by them with her head held high and called them a couple of very choice names.  Later, after telling me all this, she asks, "How hard would it have been to stop the housekeeper before she went inside and tell her there was an interview going on?"  So, these two gentlemen (and I use the term loosely) stood quietly by in an attempt to sabotage her interview?!?  How low.

Back to my original question: is this how legal professionals (current & wannabe) behave?  I understand the perils of judging a whole group by the actions of a few, but from the stories I've been told and overheard, these weren't isolated incidents of cruelty.  Is there an alternative to this dehumanizing, meat market experience?  For my own sake, I sure hope there is...




<span class=“Apple-style-span”  ‘Lucida Grande’; font-size: 12px; white-space: pre”>Your Career and Reputation Are Not Just Three Weeks as a 2L - but the guys pulling that junk have wrecked their reputation with you for life.</span> Your legal career is going to last dramatically longer than the three years you are in law school and most likely even longer than your first job out of law school.  Wade through, weed out, ignore, and work around the rude, mean, petty, hateful people you encounter.  It’s easier to type than to actually accomplish, but giving that crowd any time to pollute your brain and heart will distract you from accomplishing your best professionally, academically, emotionally, and socially.  Scrape together your backbone and resolve to focus on how YOU act.  The best you can hope to accomplish ever is to raise the bar.  The more effort you expend reacting to, having your feelings hurt, or dealing with the thugs, the less effort you have to be the best lawyer you will be.  
 Specifically, kindness is not on a curve.  Manners can not be given a point system type grade.  Either you have it or you do not.  The law students and attorneys that do not feature thoughtful, helpful, gracious personalities do not thrive five years or especially 10 years out from passing the bar.  The long range view is hard to keep when you are stuck in a room with the same 100 people every day, but reputation really is all there is to the successful long term practice of law.  
The tortoise and the hare children’s story has make it through the centuries for a reason.  Your steady, consistent, thoughtful, gracious, reliable practice of law will reap dividends for you in the long run.  You might have a miserable time right now with the jerks you describe, but you won’t have to see them 5 years from now and you sure won’t have to work with them when your career takes off 10 years from now.  Just aggressively ignore the jerks.  By the way, they often implode when you ignore them.  They really don’t know what to think and it freaks them out that you don’t think they are as powerful as they think they are.

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